“Oh no” is right, but this child didn’t do anything at school. It was what he didn’t do, and it was outside of school.
This child’s family had accepted an invitation to a birthday party on the child’s behalf. Plans changed and little Alex spent the day with his grandparents instead. They never informed the parents of the birthday child of this change in plans.
Apparently quite angry at having paid for a child who didn’t show up, the party parents sent an invoice for the equivalent of $24 home with Alex in his backpack. The invoice was for a “Child’s Party No-Show Fee”. Making the situation worse, when Alex’s parents made it clear that they would not be paying this particular bill, the party parents threatened to sue. Alex’s parents have taken to social media to make their case. Now, supposedly, the birthday boy will no longer play with Alex at school
My head is spinning with the number of things that are wrong with this scenario.
First let me say this, I completely understand how the birthday boy’s parents feel. I’ve been in a little different situation, where guests have not responded that they were coming and just shown up. I’m not talking about a couple, I’ve always got some extra food and treat bags planned, but I’ve had as many as 10 unexpected guests at my kids’ birthday parties. It was a nightmare in terms of logistics: room size, food, guest treat bags, entertainment. I can imagine what frustration the other situation might elicit, having paid for and planned for a no-show.
Burger Sliders on Potato Crisps
Right and wrong aren’t even up for discussion in this situation. There’s no excuse for:
*Using a child’s backpack and doing it via the school to send this kind of message.
*Sending a bill, threatening to sue, whatever immature thoughtless tactic was utilized to express anger.
*Exposing the 5 year old birthday boy to enough venom to result in his decision to no longer play with the boy who didn’t attend the party.
This is not about impulse control. What this family chose to do wasn’t a momentary act, implementation took time. No matter how angry the party holders were initially, why did self control never become an option along the way? Most importantly, why did the possible resulting implications to the emotional well-being of both children involved not dissuade them from this course of action? These people had this many chances to rein in their impulse to lash out:
1. When they decided to send the bill.
2. While they were writing the invoice.
3. When they brought it to the school.
4. When it was being sent home with the other child.
Without a doubt Alex’s family is wrong as well. They’ve not only gone public, but started a social media campaign to plead their case, effectively escalating instead of taking action to defuse the situation. And they’ve put their son’s face front and center in all of it. You know and I know that using a child in this way can come to no good.
For me, this whole story boils down to this one critical issue: bullying. Children are watching adults bully each other. Even worse, children are being bullied by adults.
Many years ago my son’s close friend was having a birthday party at a time when we would be away on vacation. I responded that he couldn’t attend, but bought a gift anyway. Circumstances changed and we had to cancel our vacation and go home for a family emergency instead. The day before we’d go back to Boston was the birthday party.
I knew the family. We were not friends but we were acquaintances, as our children were friends. I called to discuss the situation with the mother. I told her that our circumstances had changed and I was aware that it was the last minute. I asked her to please be honest, let me know if my son could now attend the party. I offered to explain to my son why a treat bag wouldn’t be available for him, or even to make a guest bag for him myself.
Yes, this took chutzpah and I’m sure I put her on the spot. There’s no question in my mind that she had to scramble to accommodate my son. I also know that I would have done it for another child if the situation were reversed. She said that she was happy to have him and she’d provide the guest bag. He’d be treated like the welcome guest that he was.
This is how adults communicate with each other. Privately, respectfully and outside of the hearing of the children involved. This is how far rational adults go to see that children are happy and smiling and feel included.
Even if it’s messy. Even if it’s inconvenient.
In my situation, adults spoke to each other. No bills were sent. No real value could possibly be assessed. Why? Because this is the kind of example we show to our children if we want them to be kind, polite, accommodating adults of the future. And that is priceless.
Burger Sliders on Potato Crisps©www.BakingInATornado.com
1# ground beef
1/3 cup dried minced onion
1 tsp Seasoned salt seasoning blend
2 large potatoes
2 TBSP butter
Salt, pepper and paprika to taste
Approximately 2/3 cup Shredded cheddar cheese
*Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
*Melt the butter. Peel the potatoes and slice into about 1/3 inch slices. Place the potato slices on the baking sheet and, using a pastry brush, brush the potato slices with butter. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika.
*Bake potatoes for 25 minutes. Flip them over, bake for 15 minutes, top with the cheddar and return to oven until the cheddar is melted. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
*Mix the ground beef, minced onion, seasoned salt and egg just until all the ingredients are incorporated into the ground beef. Don’t over mix. Form into about 1 inch balls. Flatten to look like mini burgers.
*Coat a skillet with non-stick spray and put on medium heat. Once the skillet starts to get hot, add as many burgers as will fit without touching. Cook approximately 3 minutes, flip over and cook the other side.
*Place half of the potato slices on your serving dish, cheese side up. Put a mini burger on each slice, then top with a second potato slice, cheese side down.